Sarah Answers Mum’s Big Christmas Question in Mother & Baby

Sarah Beeson MBE is a former health visitor and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family (£9.99, Harper Thorson). In November 2017 Edition of parenting magazine Mother & Baby  Sarah shares her advice on celebrating Christmas as a new family.

Question: We’ve always taken it in turns to go to my parent’s house and the in-law’s house for Christmas. Now we’ve got a baby, we want to stay at home, by ourselves. How should I handle telling everyone – I don’t want to upset them!

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay in your own home for Christmas. When it comes to telling your families you and your partner can work as a team by being positive, clear and firm about your decision.

First of all tell both families as soon as possible so everyone has time to adjust and adapt to the new arrangements. When you’re both relaxed and calm each of you could phone your parents to let them know what you’ve decided.

Let your parents know how much you’ve enjoyed their hospitality during past Christmases but that you both feel this is the time to start an exciting new chapter in creating special Christmas memories for your little one. Thank your parents for all they’ve done and if you’d like to make them part of the festivities maybe suggest a family tradition they can pass on in the build up to Christmas Day. Make it clear that it isn't open to negotiation and it’s a decision you
and your partner have taken together.

Discuss with your partner beforehand if you’ve got ideas on how your families could be involved. If they don’t live too far away maybe you’d like to meet for lunch or tea on Christmas Eve and go to a Crib Service with your baby.

Whatever you decide give everyone plenty of notice and don’t feel like the rest of your days have to be spent making everyone else happy. Do what you feel is manageable whether that’s having visitors on other days or going to stay with family for a night.

It may be next year you’ll feel like doing things differently but the way we spend Christmas doesn’t have to be set in stone. Whatever you decide be resolute and don’t get drawn into lengthy explanations or heated discussions. Try your best to be calm, clear, positive and thankful for the love you’ve received and will now give to your own child and enjoy your special first Christmas together as a new family.

Sarah Beeson’s MBE is a former health visitor and author of parenting guide Happy Baby, Happy Family and health visiting memoir Our Country Nurse published by HarperCollins available in paperback, eBook and audiobook.

Why We Love BabyCup and Your Chance to Win One

Join Sarah Beeson MBE and Amy Beeson as they answer mums and mums-to-be baby questions and chat about weaning on Facebook Live at 8pm on Tuesday 29 August.

Enter To Win

When you ask a question in the comments section on Facebook you’ll be entered to win a pack from BabyCup and a copy of Happy Baby, Happy Family. (UK entrants only).

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About BabyCup

BabyCup is a mini open cup for healthy sipping from weaning onwards – no lids, spouts or seals. It’s translucent so children can see inside; easy to clean and can go in your steriliser and dishwasher. It’s good for tiny teeth too – with no spout to chew on.

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Sarah’s Tips For Using BabyCup

BabyCup is suitable for babies to use from 4+ months – follow your baby’s lead. Giving them an open smaller cup that fits into the palm of their hand gently gives your baby the opportunity to handle a cup at mealtimes when you start weaning.

Start by getting your baby to cup their hand first and let them explore this new object and get the feel of it – this is a new experience for them. Put a BabyCup intp your hand too and let them copy you.

Pop the BabyCup onto your baby’s high chair tray or place it into your baby’s hand. Don’t comment too much or go over the top if they start using it; calmly wait and see what happens. If they pay no attention to the cup at all, leave it a week or so before introducing it again. You might want to put down a plastic sheet to catch any spills!

Gentle praise is all that’s needed, don’t force it – your baby will get there in their own time. Keep putting the BabyCup on their tray but be patient and let them find it. It’s good to give your baby some decision-making power. They’ll have a preference but you’re giving them the opportunity to choose for themselves without pressure or expectations.

Fill the cup a quarter full with some cooled boiled water (if your baby is under six months). You might want to drink some water yourself from a matching BabyCup and let your baby observe and copy you – cheers!

Your baby will still need their breast milk or formula, so it’s great to use the BabyCup at meal and snack times to compliment their milk feeds in the early days of weaning.

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About Happy Baby, Happy Family

“There isn’t one perfect way of parenting; every single baby and family is unique. Feeling confident, authentic and positive about your role as a parent is key to building a loving relationship with your child,” says author and former health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE.

“This is the best generation of parents I have ever seen. I’ve never known more mums and dads who are putting their children’s needs first. I want a world filled with happy babies and for mums and dads to see what a fantastic start in life they are giving their children by putting them at the centre of their lives and meeting their emotional needs as well as their practical ones.”

Discover Sarah’s top three secrets of breastfeeding and what the signs are your baby is getting enough milk. How all parents can use feeding time to bond with their baby and instant calming methods to soothe and help your Little One sleep. Weaning your way and an A-Z of solutions to common problems from colic to teething.

Take care of the whole family by understanding the emotional needs of your baby. Discover what life as a new parent is like from your partner’s perspective with advice on sex and relationships from both a woman’s and a man’s point of view.

Nurturing, practical and refreshingly honest that one-size doesn’t fit all and no-one is a perfect parent, Sarah Beeson’s advice is the perfect companion to parenthood. Get your copy now.

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Join us on Facebook Live at 8pm on Tuesday 29 August and enter to win BabyCup and Happy Baby, Happy Family.

Who are you today, mummy?

Author and mum Amy Beeson shares her experiences of looking after a child over the summer holidays whilst launching a new book with workingmums

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After publishing three books with HarperCollins, running my own business and doing the school run I’ve learnt that women maybe multitaskers but focusing on what you want to achieve most of all each day and feeling fulfilled by small achievements is what success looks like for me. Book sales and client wins are fantastic but they’re intangible and can sometimes leave you feeling a bit flat. Focusing on putting on a great book event one day and then making pancakes with my daughter the next morning feels more real than striving for an end goal since I left the corporate world.

The corporate world is playing catch up; they talk about flexible working but we’re actually doing it.

I did find pregnancy and the return to work challenging because becoming a mum changed me. It changed my relationship with work. I love my job but I’ve got at least three full time jobs (I’m a mum, an author and business owner) but I can’t be all three at the same time, not in the way I want to. I ask myself who am I right now? Over the holidays I was a mum all of the time and an author most of the time, because our new book Our Country Nurse was published and my daughter was off school. There wasn’t much space for client work but that’s OK because most of my clients were away.

For me the biggest challenge is still trying to be present in what I’m doing. Not letting mummy guilt creep in whilst I’m writing and not thinking about emails when I’m with my daughter. And it never gets any easier, it’s never going to not be busy. What I’ve discovered over the last few years is that I need to take responsibility for feeling in control.

I’ve learnt so much by connecting with other mums about what works for them and I’ve discovered that being great at your job doesn’t mean you have to work all the time. I work best in bursts of about two hours – I can get a lot done in those two hours! Then it makes complete sense to go for quick walk, eat something nice, or do some yoga – that’s not slacking; it’s giving my mind and body some sustenance so when I come back to do another two hour burst of writing or client consultations I’m at my optimum.

When you’re in an corporate environment most of the time you have to follow someone else’s rules whether they work for you or not. I get to take a fresh look at each day and ask myself what I need to achieve and how best to set myself up to succeed. Flexible working enables you to pick the time and place that means you always do your best work.

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My mum is probably the kindest colleague I’ll ever have. Whoever you work with be a kind boss to yourself.

Once my daughter’s in bed if I’m working towards something big I’ll do another few hours on the laptop but I don’t do that all the time because it’s not healthy. During the run up to Our Country Nurse coming out I was working till midnight and we’ve had lots of book events and PR to do.

My mum said to me, ‘Let’s enjoy this. Let’s not miss out the pleasure of seeing our book come out by letting all the thoughts of what we need to do spoilt it.’ Sarah is always the first person to tell me to not do too much. Sometimes that’s hard to hear because nothing just falls into your lap; it takes hard work, but you have to ask yourself would you expect the same of someone else? I might expect a colleague to do long hours when it was necessary but not very often, so I try not to expect more of myself than I would of others.

When I do have to work long hours I make a deal with myself that I can do this for a week but next week I’ll need to change things because otherwise I’ll burn out. Part of the joy of working for yourself is doing what fulfils you and that changes day by day. Most of all I want to feel happy, to me nowadays that is what success feels like.

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Amy Beeson runs Wordsby Communications and has a successful writing partnership with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE. Their new book Our Country Nurse is set in a country village in 1975 and is bursting with stories of mums journeys during pregnancy and motherhood.

Can parents have great conversations?

By Amy Beeson

Quite a few of my friends and associates from different background are also Coaches. Although they’re incredibly supportive and insightful to talk to, they also don’t pull their punches from pointing out if the person who is holding me back from something is actually me.

When Mumsnet Babyfest connected us with Barefoot Coaching and suggested we check out their Coaching Cards for New Parents I messaged Coaching Friends to ask if they’d come across them. The resounding answer was “Yes, they’re amazing. I trained with them.” And I’m not a girl who asks for professionals opinions and then ignores them.

kindred spirits

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Kim Morgan and Sarah Beeson

My mum and writing partner (Sarah Beeson MBE) and I were invited to a getting to know you breakfast with Kim Morgan the writer of Coaching Cards for New Parents and one the UK’s most esteemed business and personal coaches and her daughter Saira Aspinall who is the Marketing Director of Barefoot Coaching. When we met it was like we were old friends within minutes because we had so much in common on parenting, being working mums and mother and daughter teams. There was a lot of nodding, animated conversation and women’s laughter in the middle of the dining room of a central London hotel that morning.

Saira and I both have a background in marketing and publishing and are trying to balance the whole being good at my job and at being a good mum thing, and confessed that both of our mums’ (Sarah & Kim) were our 24/7 hotline to letting go of mummy guilt.

Kim and Sarah discovered they’d both been greatly influenced by Dr Mia Kellmer Pringle’s work on the emotional needs of children which shaped Sarah’s research for our parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family. Kellmer Pringle is also a character in Our Country Nurse. 

We left with an advanced pack of Barefoot Coaching Cards For New Parents to take home and play with and couldn’t wait to see what each of the 50 cards within the pack suggested. Saira and Kim were invited to our launch party for our new book Our Country Nurse and it was great to spend more time with them there.

sarah beeson gives thumbs up for new parents coaching cards

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Sarah and I looked at every card and picked out the top ten cards that resonated with us the most. We came to the conclusion that opportunities for romance may be few and far between with a new baby but trying to be kind to each other and not loosing sight that you’re a partnership as well as parents benefits everyone.

Parents could use Kim Morgan’s Coaching Cards to give themselves time and space to talk about  their lives and share all the lovely moments being a new parent has brought so far. They could also be a tool to start a discussion on any  issues you’re experiencing such as feelings of guilt and self-criticism or feeling under valued by your partner. You might pre-select a card or pick one at random and see where the conversation takes you.

Picking a calm moment and card or two to have an open and kind conversation about your thoughts and feelings since you’ve becoming parents and actively listening to your partner will help you to appreciate how much you’ve already grown as a family.
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Sarah’s favourite coaching card in the pack said, ‘What messages did you receive about yourself as a child? To what extent have these messages stuck with you or become true?’ It’s definitely a theme that runs through our parenting advice and novels. We gave away one of these cards to every reader who came to our book launches for Our Country Nurse and they agreed whoever you are, this question opens  up discussion about your past, present and future.

ASK YOUR PARTNER TO PICK A card

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One evening I got our the pack of Coaching Cards and my husband Takbir and I took turns to pick one each at random. It did give me a opporutnity to talk about some issues I’d been bottling up but also it was good to listen to him. To consider how our very different childhoods are influencing our behaviour as parents and how our greatest strength is working together as a team.

It being the school holidays our daughter Ava had less strict bedtimes and soon wandered into our conversation. She took a turn to pick a card too and asked us questions and answered them herself about her own experiences. As a family it was a lovely way to spend some time together and I noticed we were all very present in the moment. All the devices were turned off and it was nice to have an open discussion about our lives and share in our happiest memories.

great gift for new parents

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Kim asked Sarah if she’d endorse the coaching cards which she did gladly. If you pick up a pack this is the quote you’ll see on the back.

“Using these cards to talk about the highs and lows of parenthood will be good  for you and your family.”
Sarah Beeson MBE, author of Happy Baby, Happy Family

Coaching Cards are designed to make honest, open conversation between new parents easier. They can be dipped into time and again, the cards can be used throughout the first year of parenthood and beyond into the toddler years. Easy to pick up and use, they make a great new baby gift if you’re shopping for a present for new parents or mums to be.

ABOUT BAREFOOT COACHING CARDS FOR NEW PARENTS

Coaching Cards for New Parents by Kim Morgan are available to Buy on Amazon. You can get more information on Barefoot’s Coaching Cards range at Barefootcoachingcards.co.uk and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @barefootcoachingcards.

You can spoil babies you know (No you can’t!) How many out of these Ten parenting myths have you heard?

Sarah shares some of the myths parents were told in the 1970s that they’re still being told today with Female First.

Have you been told any of these Myths?

Myth One: You can’t get pregnant when breastfeeding
Myth Two: There’s no harm in leaving babies to cry themselves to sleep
Myth Three: All babies wean at six months
Myth Four: All women can have sex just six weeks after giving birth
Myth Five: You only get postnatal depression with a newborn baby
Myth Six: Babies can’t choke
Myth Seven: If your child bites it’s best if you bite them back
Myth Eight: We don’t need vitamin supplements
Myth Nine: When your child misbehaves putting them in the naughty corner will put a stop to it
Myth Ten: You can spoil babies

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Parenting expert and author Sarah Beeson MBE has worked with families for over four decades. Her latest book Our Country Nurse written with her daughter Amy Beeson, is set in a country village in 1975 and is bursting with stories of mums’ journeys during pregnancy and motherhood. Sarah shares some of the myths mums were told in the 1970s that they’re still being told today with Female First.

Meet Author Sarah Beeson MBE at Newcastle Under Lyme Library this Thursday

free event at newcastle library on 29 September at 2pm

Author and former Staffordshire Health Visitor Sarah Beeson MBE will be giving a reading, taking questions and signing copies of her latest memoir Our Country Nurse at Newcastle Under Lyme Library at 2pm on Thur 29 September as part of their History Month.

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Libraries Chief said:

“It’s great to welcome Sarah to Staffordshire’s libraries to meet some of her fans and to celebrate the launch of her new book.”

“It’s interesting to think that some of Sarah’s memoirs might well draw from some of her time as a nurse in Staffordshire. I’m sure we will see a good turn-out and I hope the county’s budding writers are inspired by her success and the talks.”

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Newcastle Under Lyme Library, 30 Ironmarket Newcastle-under-Lyme Staffordshire ST5 1AT

Telephone 01782 297300